10 Small Upsides to Being Mentally Depressed

Depression-Causes-Heart-Problems-There’ss no shortage of downsides to being mentally depressed  or even suicidal, but there are some positives that come with the social stigma of being emotionally distressed.

10. Your skin looks amazing thanks to all the excess sleep you’re now getting.

9. Facebook becomes less agitating and more obsolete because you just simply don’t give a fuck about what everyone else is doing anymore.

8.  No one judges you for listening too loudly to every pop break-up song and screeching Emo rock band because that’s what these songs were made for. Hello complete set of Kelly Clarkson on iTunes Essentials.

7. Everyone encourages you to drink and eat more because surely food and alcohol can fill that giant hole in the center of your well being.

6.  Your parents actually have to take you seriously because you’re two phone calls away from being “so and so’s poor kid” that all the neighbors are talking about.

5. You don’t have to make lame excuses for flaking on girls night out this weekend because no one expects you to want to go out anyway. Great, because you were running out of reasons why you’d rather stay in and watch the full season of True Detective instead of standing endlessly in line for $12 jager shots.

4. Free region to look like a hot mess and let your eyebrows become fully formed caterpillars on your face because, what’s the point anyway?  Bring on the messy buns and sweats.

3. You find that people are too worried about you to even let you do errands alone in the event that you go complete crazy in public and end up on the nightly news all because Target no longer stocks your favorite shampoo & conditioner.

2. Your text, email and Facebook timeline are all filled with words of encouragement, inspirational memes, and support from all your friends and family daily.

1. People are genuinely invested in helping you and you are more in touch with your feelings than ever before because everyone is constantly asking you “how you feel”, in efforts to truly help you before you spin wildly out of control.

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Karyn Washington

Screen-Shot-2014-04-11-at-5.25.44-AMWhen a mother goes into labor, even if she’s expecting –  she’s not. Her whole world for the past 9 months has been spent counting down the hours enjoying the up’s and downs of pregnancy, and in her mind she’s ready for the physical roller coaster ride she’s about to go on. Yet every doctor says that the minute the pain picks up the only thing most mothers feel is fear (even if it’s mostly mental). Doctors say, that even those who have relatively pain free labor’s go through a moment of pure panic that is almost unrelieved. So how do they get through it? Any mother will tell you it’s a moment where it just washes over you, the pain, the fear, it’s only temporary, it won’t hurt forever, so for now I’ll do my best to guide a fucking human being into the world through my BODY.  And, they do it. They make it through and then promptly forget the entire experience except to say, “I don’t think in my right mind I’d ever do it again”, but then they do.

That’s you twenties (and those other kiddo’s you swore you’d never have are your 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, where it’s a whole other level of crazy, but at least it’s not your first again). They suck. I mean the whole title of this blog says it all.  And yet, it’s this beautiful and human experience that everyone goes through that looks hard because it is and and hurts because it does. Every person I know between the ages of 20 and 29 is going through something right now, some more than others, some easier still. Yet, every journey is different, there is no “right way” to survive your 20’s. Some will chose the natural way, while others will opt for the drugs to carry them through. Some may need the help of a coach or a mentor, and some will tough it out on their own with only a few helping hands popping in just to make sure you’re not dying. The pain comes in waves, every minute you endure it you’re closer and closer to the end. Sometimes it doesn’t always go the way you planned (that whole time up until this point) but it always ends. The only way to get to the end is to go through it, you have no other choice.

Which is why it was so crazy for me to see that fellow black girl and avid thought sharer blogger Karyn Washington committed suicide; the creator of For Brown Girls, a website I’ve frequented here and again. Her vision was to inspire other black girls to self-love and find their inner beauty, you know, the kind of blog your mother will just keep sending you links too because, for whatever reason they allow parents access to the internet for some reason she see’s a little of her daughter in every post. However, the news (perhaps sent to me by said mother) wasn’t even a little bit surprising. I didn’t gasp in horror and get all emotionally upset over they “why” of it all because sadly I understood. It’s hard. It’s hard being in your twenties. It’s hard being a woman. It’s hard being an African-American, and as much as people want to say it isn’t, those people are usually white men. But it’s not a race or a contest to see what faction of us has it’s the worse, all of them have they’re obstacles to overcome, but just imagine you had all three and you start to see what I mean. It’s exhausting. It’s numbing, and sometimes it feels like it’s too much.

Now everyone is talking about how the black community is handling mental illness, and where we’re going wrong. That’s a valid discussion to bring up , but it’s really just to divide a community already divided on so many other social issues right now. Mental illness on a whole isn’t talked about in this country, so to say that the black community is coping worse than others is only marginally true. Why aren’t we talking about why all of a sudden it’s so hard to be in your 20’s and how my generation is falling apart trying to climb through them? We’re not all Facebook creators and Snapchat founders, but now we’re all expected to be “the next big thing”. The pressure to succeed is higher, the job market is scarier, the price of living is astronomical and we’re dealing with debt so high we’ll never retire (no, seriously, go look up the numbers on that and tell me you wouldn’t be depressed). Not to mention our generation is now responsible for fucking up dating. That’s right, you heard me, we took the concept of the “one-night-stand” and turned it into a “hook up culture”. We don’t even know how to have healthy emotional attachments TO OTHER PEOPLE. We’ve isolated ourselves and we have parents that have helicoptered their way through our lives so that we basically have no coping mechanism.  We’re so fucking depressed out of our minds that prescription drugs are becoming illegal. ILLEGAL! The prescribed ones. Those of us that have jobs are working a minimum of 45 hours a week making less thank 30k a year all the while competing in a global economy that basically think Americans are a joke. Just imagine being twenty in the middle of all that.

And she was a woman, and she was black.

I wasn’t even a little bit surprised at all because I’ve been there. But at some point you have to let the pain overcome you and in the back of your mind you think “on the other side of this is a life… I grew…myself, with very little help from anyone other than me, totally and completely organically because my body can do that” and then you push. You push and you push and keep pushing until you’re all done.

I’m Going Going, Back, Back, To DC, DC

1-jpg*** It’s besides the point that, that’s not how the song goes.

It’s official, I am going back to Washington DC. Not for a visit, no – for the WHOLE SUMMER.

How did this happen asked no one, you ask? Well, this is one of those, “when life gives you lemons” moments where I make an impulsive decision, because that’s never back fired on me before. But, I never imagined 4 weeks ago that I would accept a job in Denver, and that my soon-to-be-boss would tell me my start date wasn’t until August, so given those lemons – TaDa!

After 2 years of schools, internships and jobs I didn’t just leave DC, I fled. I fled because of the only thing that makes girls want to flee anywhere – a boy. Not just any boy, the boy. You know the one, the one that ruins it for all the other boys that come after, the one who literally broke me when I was at my best, the one that 2000 miles and all the time in the world couldn’t erase….. until now.  I wasn’t an adult until I left DC, everything since is categorized in my head as ADC (After DC) and anything before it feels like a dream, some version of myself before shit really hit the fan (also known as BDC). I was a child the last time I was in DC, hanging out with grown folks and pretending I was one of them, but I wasn’t. Now, it’s like I’ll be going back to my childhood home to realize that everything looks a bit smaller, a little less scary, and a lot more fun.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a “do over”, rather a chance to have the time of my life in my adopted city to see just how far I’ve come. It’s also a chance for me to catch up with people that I’ve been Facebook envious of for too long. Rooftop parties, check. Marine Corp band, check. Networking happy hours that turn into nights you can’t forget, check, check, check. This is the opportunity I never seized and now I’m impulsively going back because I didn’t’ finish my DC story the way I should have. The way it was meant to be.

I wanted this year to be the most adventurous, most impulsive, most everything type of year and a quarter of the way through it I can safely say I’ve almost dinged every item on my resolution (#GoMe). In what can only be described as a Scandal size plot twist I’m going, going, back, back, to DC, DC and I couldn’t be happier!

Summer 2014 is about to be epic!

It’s an Endless Waterfall

music-notesYou know how after you get really drunk you get to the point where you just know you’re going to have to vomit? Let’s be serious, there has been a point in every drinking adults life where after the fun phase, and the loose phase (hey, don’t look at me), and the getting-kind-of-sloppy-drunk phase there is a time and place (hopefully in the privacy of your own home and not some random persons bed, you slut) where you know for the sake of your own safety you are going have to vomit all the vodka red bulls right up or risk being drunk and dizzy forever. It’s natural. It’s the human bodies most basic reaction to being filled with – well, toxins. And for whatever reason the human brain accepts and acknowledges that, as bad as vomiting feels when it’s happening,  it might be the only way to feel better…. To feel, relief.

I had one of those moments this morning, except maybe a little different. From the moment I opened my eyes, I just knew I was going to have to bawl my eyes out today. And while you, dear blogger reader, are well aware of my current state of being there are still some things I keep to myself. Eventually the time will come when I’ll share all the pain and torture that was really going on during this time in my life with you,  but for now just know that I’m fighting a lot of losing battles, and it’s not just on the job front.

Needless to say, I was feeling it strong this morning. I felt like I needed to cry and get all my emotions out of my body or else my  heart would explode (I might be a tad dramatic, can you tell?). So I did the only thing appropriate, the only way society expects people to have a melt downs- I showered. In the shower no one can hear, see, or even tell that you’re crying, its all part of the way society handles emotion, by not.  So I made a short playlist of all the saddest most depressing songs I could (Kelly Clarkson was in heavy rotations, obviously), and waited for the emotional downpour to steam away in the hot shower. But nothing happened. A few tears trickled down my face and I felt genuinely annoyed that my head and my heart were still holding on to the emotion that needed to come out! I got out of the shower and just stood there for a moment hoping a song would come out that would  just ring me dry, and then this song came on:

It’s a ballad from NBC’s short lived drama Smash and it’s truly how I feel in my life. Every time I get somewhere the marker for success and happiness is moved and all I’m doing is chasing after it. I love this song and while I sang horribly off key along with the lyrics a few more tears rolled down my checks, the ones who had been so unmoving in the shower. And while I felt a small amount of gumption creep in where loss, and heartache had been eating away at me for days, it wasn’t enough. I wrapped myself tighter in my towel and headed into the living room with my phone in hand. I began frantically skipping through songs, stopping on ones I knew had to be the perfect soundtrack for waterworks. And then I saw it, a cutting knife on the kitchen counter perfectly clean. My heart stopped beating rapidly as I looked so long at the knife that I scared myself. And then it came on…

The first time I heard the song was also the first time I saw the video and to say that both gave me chills is an understatement. The way Macklemore rhymes out his journey through his addiction has never felt like my story because I never did drugs growing up, so I would listen to the lyrics and just appreciate his genius. Until today. When that song came on I was carried through the last 3 years of my life. Flashbacks of all the mistakes and missteps I’ve taken since I left DC came flooding back through me like too much wine after Scandal. I cried so hard that I was shaking. I couldn’t breathe and when he get to the verse, at the end I never felt more like the song fit so perfectly to how I felt.

Until you’re stuck, lookin’ in the mirror like I can’t believe what I’ve become
Swore I was goin’ to be someone
And growing up everyone always does
We sell our dreams and our potential
To escape through that buzz
Just keep me up, keep me up
Hollywood here we come

After that I felt better but depressed. All I could her was the sound of my breath. And then another song came on.

It’s always been a favorite of mine. It reminds me of all the road trips I’ve ever taken, the road in front of me, the vast beauty of this country’s backdrop behind, and for whatever reason this song has always brought me hope. When I started listening to it I went right back to when I left Washington DC, three years ago, AGAIN. Except this time… I remembered the period after all those missteps and mistakes, the recovery time when I found this inner strength that most other people will never have, let alone understand. And I was smiling and crying and thinking of how I always bounce back and the darkness always becomes light again and I met some amazing friends and people and jobs and everything along the way. And even though the last lines of the song have always stuck with me, for some reason I heard them a little differently this time around.

But I’ll still believe though there’s cracks you’ll see,
When I’m on my knees I’ll still believe,
And when I’ve hit the ground, neither lost nor found,
If you’ll believe in me I’ll still believe

WARNING THE BELOW PARAGRAPH IS A LITTLE PRECHY, KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

And for whatever reason I felt like that was my prayer to God. It has always been and it has always been answered. I still believe things will work out, even when it’s not the strongest of beliefs I might have, if God believes in me, then I still believe. And for some reason it all made sense, and I felt better and I smiled for the first time in a few days and I felt okay. And then, to add to the emotional vomit I just experienced, this, this writing, this piece just needed to be written down. I opened up my computer and I started to hum. I started singing lyrics, “… filling up and spilling over…”. I could only recall those words but the melody was fresh, from a song my mother use to play when I was younger and she couldn’t have been much older than me… well maybe.. maybe she was 30… ANYWAY, since we live in a digital age I searched the lyrics and this old gem popped up.

I shocked myself with how from the moment Cris Williamson starts singing I remembered all the lyrics and it just felt like this was the song I was suppose to hear in this moment. Like the ending of a great movie or the exit music from an outstanding ballet, it fit.

When you open up your life to living
All things come spilling in on you
And you’re flowing like a river
the Changer and the Changed
You’ve got to spill some over
Spill some over

Filling up and spilling over

It’s an endless waterfall

Sometimes it takes a rainy day
Just to let you know
Everything’s gonna be – All right
I know, I know, I know all right